The aerial combat is still thrilling, but some inexcusable issues make Zone of the Enders HD Collection a disappointing repackaging of two cult classics.
- Responsive controls
- Speedy and addictive combat.
- Poor frame rate
- No online integration
- Clunky dialogue
- Repetitive gameplay.
Beneath a cliched, anime-infused veneer, the Zone of the Enders series features thrilling midair combat, carried by tight controls and a surprisingly adept dynamic camera system. While the brevity and monotony of the original Zone of the Enders gave the impression that it was little more than a glorified concept demo, the arrival of the sequel, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, presented a greater spectrum of environments, scenarios, and emotions that would ultimately solidify its favor over the original.
It was also rendered at an impressive frame rate, further emphasizing the breakneck pace of combat. This detail comes to mind when contemplating the potential home run that an HD remaster of the series could be. Sadly, it seems that instead of swinging for the fences, Konami opted to bunt. The improved resolution and aspect ratio are welcome additions, but they unfortunately tax the frame-rate of the best game in the collection, The 2nd Runner.
In fairness, the remastered version of Zone of the Enders (the original game) does pick up the pace a bit, though that doesn't change the fact that the game can be completed in under five hours--five hours filled with repetitive environments, hammy dialogue, and embarrassing acting to boot. Anyone familiar with the series won't find anything new here that warrants slogging through the game yet again. At least the remaster of the original serves as an extended introduction to the world of the Enders and the Orbital Frames that rule the skies.
The sequel, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, is where you'll want to spend most of your time with the HD Collection. The scope of the narrative and the variety of missions and environments eclipse the best moments from the original. In addition to extensively upgrading the avatars and cutscenes, Konami contracted animation studio Sunrise to create an original animated sequence tying the two games together. There's also new content previously relegated to a special edition of the PlayStation 2 release that was exclusive to Asian and European markets, including extra missions, additional difficulty levels, and VR training features.
It's disappointing that the technical execution suffers so greatly. Though there are rare moments of speedy satisfaction, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions perform worse than the original. Oddly, the PlayStation 3 suffers more than the Xbox 360 version, dropping even more frames and producing odd graphical effects related to the oft-used motion-blur. Replaying the PlayStation 2 version after spending time with the HD Collection emphasizes the frame-rate discrepancy; it feels like it's on fast-forward by comparison. The remastered version is completely enjoyable and playable, but it fails to improve, or even maintain, the speed of the original SD version.
True, both titles suffer from technical and story-related shortcomings, but there are moments in each where excellence shines through and you see what made these games so enjoyable many years ago. Eventually, you find yourself participating in some of the most thrilling and engaging midair combat of this generation and the last. Battling against opposing Orbital Frames (Gundam-esque, anthropomorphized mechs) stands out as the essence of the greatness within the otherwise mediocre package. Thankfully, both games are entrenched in the nimble maneuverability of your Frame, Jehuty, as it gracefully charges, flips, and pans around its targets. Were it not for these moments, neither Zone of the Enders game would have a leg to stand on. Konami could have capitalized on these strengths even further by enabling online multiplayer, but it didn't. Combat is easily the most engaging and enjoyable aspect of both games, and online integration of the local Versus modes would have greatly extended the life of the HD Collection.
If the two games aren't enough, some people may be enticed into purchasing the HD Collection by the inclusion of the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo, though it's worth considering that the PlayStation 3 version presents game-breaking bugs linked to the bipedal mechs, known as geckos. Lock on to one, or initiate Blade mode, and the game freezes. The only remedy is a hard reset of the console. While it was easy to reproduce these bugs on the PlayStation 3, they were nonexistent in the Xbox 360 version during repeat tests.
The HD treatment, especially the widescreen aspect ratio, makes the pair of Zone of the Enders games more palatable by contemporary standards, but the chugging frame rate leaves the bitter taste of disappointment behind, inspiring thoughts of what could have been. The extra content, including the currently exclusive Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo, may be enough to justify the budget price tag of $40 to some, but it doesn't make up for the partial neutering of a game that wasn't broken to begin with.
Bad review but anyways the framerate problems are inexcusable, konami just does not give a crap to any other franchise other than MGS.
Hopefully they will patch the problems.
GS's score was the lowest of the bunch, that's how the cookie crumbles I guess.
No Online Integration for an HD collection that didn't have online MP? Does he mean that you can't do Cross Game Voice chat or access XBL while playing? If he is just referring to the collection not having MP forcibly added, that shouldn't be expected.
A shame about the bugs and glitches.
I've never heard of this guy, strange about that Online Integration knock point docks. Oh well.
@SolidTy don't let it deter you from playing such a great classic. I am hoping the framerate can be fixed with some sort of patch, so I am waiting a bit, but this is on my must play list.
@WarpedCore The Silent Hill HD collection transfer was far worse, and GS of course not being consistent gave that a better score, lol.
@WarpedCore I already own both of these games on as they were exclusives for PS2. I bought them both at their launches and I've preached for years for gamers to give them a try (especially ZOE2), so I won't let this review affect me.
I didn't buy the HD package due to the fact I have the originals, but I will buy the HD package on sale for $20 down the road. That was my plan no matter the review, only because I own the games.
If I didn't, I would have bought the HD package at launch. ZOE 2 is amazing.
So what I'm gathering from the comments, is that very few of you understand what it means to be a video game journalist, and don't seem to understand that a score is reflective of the critics experience with the game. In other words, it's an opinion, and this guy is entitled to have his own opinion about a game.
Obviously a review by a person who had to get back to HALO 4 multiplayer. I read his little bio and it says that he is a "retro" gamer and grew up with the NES? Ask him what the 2600 is and his eyes will glaze over. Retro my ass.
@WarpedCoreYeah, you definitely nailed it. Fuck this dude, and his opinion, he doesn't deserve to have one. Where the fuck does he get off giving this game the score he thinks best reflects his overall experience with the game, and how he thinks most other people will feel about it? Who does he think he is, someone paid to play video games and write about his experience with the product?
@Alexk91 well, Mr. Sarcasm, he didn't put the thought into that these games are dated. They cannot simply be rated on todays gaming curve.He seems to be scoring low due to that and that alone. To me, that just doesn't seem fair. My guess is that he would think Hotline Miami would suck ass then. In case you are wondering. . . . it totally doesn't. Go check it out.
Must say, GS reviews have been getting a little... can't think of the word. Hypocritical I guess?
HALO 4! EPIC AWESOME WIN 9.0!! It's the same game they've been making for years, repetitive gameplay spanning many games.
ZOE HD, 6.0! Fantastic game with some technical issues -- and somehow gets slated on being repetitive yet somehow has "Speedy and Addictive Combat."
I guess Konami didn't send GSpot as many gifts as Microsoft did.
@Fr0oTy Yeah, but Halo has multiplayer and isn't criticised for repetitive level design. The MGS HD Collection did very well by comparison
Nice to keep deleting my posts, you GSpot twits. Peter Brown, you will always have the tech issues on this port, but if you want to see some good graphics, I suggest an emulator to play the original PS2 version.
WHAT THE F#^@!
Really a 6.0? This is ridiculous. Did you even play the game man? Or did you hurry and finish this review asap so you can go play more duty? I've played both ZOE games. They are masterpieces of art work, music and story.
I know you are entitled to your opinion, but I feel this review was rushed and utter bull$#!&! I mean, even when the games were released for the PS2 they got a higher score. They only thing different is updated hd graphics. Look, I know that reviews are opinionated, but you should do some reading Peter. 7.4 for ZOE and 8.5 for ZOE 2, a 6.0 doesn't fit anywhere between that. I'm really doubting you even played the game. Maybe you just seen game play footage and said, "Yep, this is 6.0 material." Really... WTF!
@RevolverDash22 You would actually buy this crappy excuse for a port? Because that's what got the 6.0, not the original games. You can go their respective pages to see those scores.
If you think this port illustrates what ZOE2 is about, you seriously need to replay the original. The PS3 cash-in is an insult to Kojima's work.
Yes, I bought this crappy excuse of a port and I have news for you. It's better than this guy said it was. Hell have you even played the port for yourself? Normally, when they do port upgrades they are $#!T. This one isn't shit and it does not deserve the score this guy gave it. Anyone who has never played ZOE and would like to play it should get it. Why? Well for one ZOE hard copies for the PS2 are becoming pretty rare and hard to find. Not everyone has a ps2 anymore. I have both luckily. I still got this game. I am not disappointed. Does it has issues? yes. Are they bad enough for a 6.0 score? No.
Bottom line: Opinions are like a$$holes. Everyone has them.
Note how I didn't act like a 3 year old child and call you names and act like your a idiot. . I got the feeling that's what you where trying to do to me. I could be wrong but whatever :P. Anyway, This is only my opinion and if you read all over this page, there are a ton of other people who agree with me. The review was BS.
IGN gave it a 7.0. Two other magazines gave it a a pretty high score. Gamespot is at the bottom. Wait till the other ratings come out. I'd bet money that they'll give it 7.0-9.0 rating. Which is what it deserves.
@Alexk91 @RevolverDash22 I think what RevolverDash22 means is that he thinks its BS. And that is his oponion. And i tend to agree with him. i dont have the original anymore but i liked the HD games and dont see why all the critiria is valid. Some are dumb like ''no online integration" i mean why does it need to be online? lately every game must have online integration. its all that good for some games like God of War. But he that is just my oponion.
@RevolverDash22 I'll take that heated response as a verification that you are missing the point. "I just pointed out how this review was B.S." how? How exactly does you claiming the review is B.S. make it so? It's his damn opinion, and in his opinion, technical flaws, repetition, and lack of online integration in an "HD port" warrant it a 6.0 out of 10. You don't like it, get over it. How does him not giving this game the score you want based on the experience he had affect you in any way?
@Alexk91 I take that as a smart a$$ compliment. I never said my opinion was better than others, did I? I just pointed out how this review was BS. Comments like "No online integration" and "Repetitive gameplay" are rubbish. Have you even played the HD release man? If so then please express your own opinion more as to why Peter Brown is right, and I am wrong. If not, then just ignore this post entirely. Get it? Got it? Good!
@RevolverDash22 Well gee, it sounds like you should start your own gaming magazine, or website, or TV series, and then share your review there, instead of telling other people that they should share your opinion, instead of having their own.
Renting it is the only solution, buddy. I would never cash in something that High Voltage Software abominates.
The good: "Speedy and addictive combat."
The bad: "Repetitive gameplay."
What? Gameplay IS combat, or am I missing something? I didn't play the first two, but this getting a lower score than either of the first two makes no sense considering it's the same game, but with updated graphics.
another example of hd reviews being complete and utter rubbish. the review of JSR HD was attrocious and yet the game itself is perfectly fine, its just the reviewer was a complete sissy and didn't bargain for it being a challenging game requiring some actual thought and practice... Gamespot reviewers are such assholes
Zone of the Enders (PS2): 7.4
Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner (PS2): 8.0
Zone of the Enders HD: 6.0
So if we play 2 old games with lesser graphics they are rated higher than if we play them both for the price of one with HD quality?
The Bad: Poor frame rate, No online integration, Clunky dialogue, Repetitive gameplay.
These were all true for the classic version of these games and yet they were rated higher (as they should be)
I've seen GameSpot do the same for many games before. I think one of the main reasons why games get rated low is when they lack online features.
Peter Brown, shame on you. Shame on you.
@TechSin ZOE 2nd Runner is 8.5 (not 8.0), please check the following link:
if you think this game is repetitive then i think you stuck in a stage and didnt finish it, and how come the game is short ?!!
Awful review of a classic game. As it stands, the concepts of the game were WAY ahead of their time, the whole point of an "HD" release is to give gamers a view of the game for what it is, a HIGH DEFINITION remake, not a game overhaul. You need to either be fired or demoted. How is it you have a job?
@abit2theright dude do you read, it preforms worse than the original, that's the main cause of the low score and everyone who has play zoe 1 and 2 on ps2 all agree that 2> 1 in every aspect, including story and characters. The majority of the review is based on how they failed to remake nicely then yeah the score is justified though I would have given it a point higher
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@SSS1989 @abit2theright Yeah guess I was ignoring that part. Like you said every game is repetitive. If it works it works. And zone of the enders is short so it never feels repetitive imo where as other games tend to drag on. The tech issue alone is kinda disappointing. Kinda shows konami did this half assed and released it. There's no way the didn't notice. I work as a QA tester and whenever bugs are sent about these things they often get rejected with devs saying it's not worth fixing. Hell even the demos got problems =S Didn't expect that from the guys who bought us metal gear. I bought the game day 1 but didn't pop it in yet cause I'm finishing some other stuff. Now I feel like I can wait, maybe a magic patch will show up
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@SSS1989 Better to experience games ourselves? WHY ARE YOU READING A VIDEO GAME REVIEWING SITE THEN?
@DSkinMasque Because I don't. I go to the forums to communicate, not follow the critics' crap. I don't read and watch the critics' reviews anymore. I used to review my games for my old small website, but I decided that being a game developer can make me more money.
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So, is there any competition going on or what...?, just enjoy the game, play it with your friend while eating pizza or something, thats what gaming is about.
Serious dude, why rate a hd remake, that's worse then the original the same or higher as the original? Has common sense abandoned you? Read the review
@virusqg This is not a whole remake, it is just in HD. Konami clearly mention that before. you should know there is huge difference between remake and HD collection. by the way, you still didn't get the point. when somebody new to this series and see this bad rating, he will miss one of the best enjoyable games. my point should be clear for you now.
@motaz_gd oh and if your so concerned about what the score is, why dont u go and rate the game, i dont know about most people but tend to follow gamers reviews more then i do gamespots... give it the whoping 7.5 YOU THINK it deserves
@virusqg are you kidding me!! did you read my comments, or you are just trying to defend your self !! do you want me to continue in this way of talking?? for what!! for just a game!! are you serious?? and what is your problem of your common sense?? I told you to see the users rating on upper right corner, 8 users rate it at 7.8 which is higher that my rating 7.5, go to my first comment and read it carefully before you reply in future. if you can't understand my comment you simply reject it, this your issue, all gamers who played the original game in ps2 has agreed with me that gamespot rating is unrealistic because Konami didn't change the story or gameplay or even the sounds, they only render the game in higher resolution. how you want me to accept this rating if gamespot focus only in the graphic. this is clearly a bias and not objective.
well we can see why u dont like to talk much, the point you raise does not make sense, along w/ most of your other comments, if you havnt guessed by now, ya i "reject" your senseless point :) have a good night
I don't like to talk too much, I raised my point, if you want you can accepted it or just reject it. you can check the users rating on the top right corner, it is right now 7.7
@motaz_gd ok let me correct my self, what do you want, this is a partial remake? really guy? the game was "remade" in hd.... again common sense good lordy, and anyone w/ said common sense knows that a review is based on the reviewers personal opinion... i say let them decide in the end, rather the review has influence or not. personally i dont let reviews sway me in total as far as if i'm going to by a game or not...
Gamespot is still making the same previous mistakes in there reviews. How come the original game rated at 8.5 and the HD Collection 5.5!!!!!, you are misleading the readers. If you guys remember the game 'Rage', it was too slow in a powerfull PC and was rated by Gamespot at 7.0, while ps3 and xbox 8.0 because of frame rates. To be fair, gamespot should rate this HD collection at 7.5 not 5.5,
This is one of the best game ever, stop giving excuses if you are not a fan of these games. Online is not the 1st priority to us and repetitive gameplay is exist in all games, there is no need for a unique attack mode for each mission!!!
I don't get the point you're trying to make... "GS" (newsflash, its not 1 person) rated Rage higher on console because it ran better? OMG. I'd be upset if they didn't.
Same story here, though I still find faults in his review... he mentions how short 1 is, but fails to mention that 2 is even shorter. :-P
@MechaNapoleon i dunno how you could ever manage this or your perception of time has a system error, but there is no way that 2 would be a shorter game than 1 on a first playthrough
@MechaNapoleon I beat ZOE 1 way faster than I beat ZOE 2. I played both games at their launches for PS2 years ago.
@MechaNapoleon normally, gamespot is reducing the rate by 0.5 to 1 point if the console can't render the game in 60 frame per second. Rage is just an example, the PC version was very bad in rendering. but when it comes to ZOE they totally focused on this matter by forgotten that it the same story, gameplay and even sounds of the original game. that what I called unobjective review, since their review was 8.5 for the original game in ps2, they should reduce only 1 point (not 3 points).